7-Eleven Names Retailer Initiative Award Winners, Gears up for Holiday Celebrations

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7-Eleven Names Retailer Initiative Award Winners, Gears up for Holiday Celebrations

DALLAS -- 7-Eleven chose UST Inc., holding company for its U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. subsidiary, and BakeFresh Co., manufacturer of fresh bakery items for retailers on the East Coast, as its Retailer Initiative Award Winners for 2006.

Candidates were nominated by 7-Eleven's merchandising and operations teams and were judged on business activities in 2005. The recipients -- chosen by the 7-Eleven Awards Committee, a group of senior executive team members -- are an example of suppliers that help the chain meet its customers' changing needs through team merchandising, demand-chain solutions, costs of goods, category management, and contributions to creative advertising and promotional campaigns, the company stated.

UST was selected for its exceptional customer focus, demand-chain support and cost of goods management in 2005, according to the company. "UST has had a positive impact on our organization with a collaborative approach to merchandising their high-quality products and maximizing in-store promotions to provide superior value to customers," said 7-Eleven president and CEO Joe DePinto. "This well-deserved award is a result of UST management's ongoing support of the 7-Eleven Retailer Initiative strategy and their leadership, passion and overall efforts to grow the moist smokeless tobacco category."

UST promotes expanded fresh-daily distribution through the convenience chain's Combined Distribution Center network, which has resulted in double digit growth in those areas, as it provides the freshest product available for 7-Eleven customers, DePinto added. UST also provides regional product recommendations for the company.

The other award winner, BakeFresh, is a team-merchandising leader for the company's operations in the Chesapeake and New England regions. The company received the award based on its established production efficiency and execution, quality assurance standards and its additional training tools for manufacturing locations that focus on improving product quality, freshness and sales.

"The BakeFresh team uses its innovative expertise to provide solutions for new product introductions and improves service to our stores with only the latest equipment and technology in their facilities," said Cynthia Davis, senior vice president of merchandising. "This is a company that leads by example and this award recognizes that."

Honorable mention also went out to Virgin Mobile USA and Miller Brewing Co. This was the fifth year that 7-Eleven honored suppliers with the Retailer Initiative awards; Last year's winner was Pinnacle Food Products and other past winners included: The Hershey Co., Nestle Waters N.A. and Anheuser-Busch.

In other 7-Elven news, the company is gearing up for the holiday season with promotions for last minute holiday shoppers.

Stumped on what to get tween and teens? 7-Eleven offers a low-cost prepaid phone option through SpeakOut Wireless. The Nokia 1600 handset is priced at $49.99 and the Sanyo 2400 -- which features a walkie-talkie option -- is priced at $89. Both phones come with $25 worth of airtime.

Slurpee aficionados will get a kick out of the Slurpee Lite-Up cup. Batteries in the cup's base power multi-colored flashing lights that can be turned on or off with the flick of a switch. The cup can be partnered with a 7-Eleven refillable Convenience Card to give gift recipients more opportunities to grab the frozen carbonated beverage. The suggested retail price for the cup is $3.49.

For future Slurpee fans, the Slurpee Drink Maker is available for $34.99. The toy allows kids to make their own Slurpees at home with soft drinks, juice or other flavored beverages.

7-Eleven also offers an expanded selection of gift cards for those that don't know what to give this holiday season. Twenty different cards -- to department, electronic, sporting goods, home improvement, household, online music, gaming, restaurant and entertainment stores -- in denominations from $7.99 to $50 are available. New to the lineup include American Express cards in $25 and $50 amounts; $25 Borders book store cards and Xbox Live cards in denominations from $7.99 to $50.

Customers heading towards holiday outings can purchase fresh cut flowers for $9.99. A box of chocolates, from the $4.99 Merci European Chocolates to a giant 5-pound Hershey bar at $29.99, can be added as well. In addition, specially marked Miller Lite packages offer a $5 coupon for any gift card purchase.

The chain is also donating $3 to the St. Jude Children's research Hospital for every St. Jude bear sold in its stores. The brown bear futures the green St. Jude's logo monogrammed on its paw. Suggested retail price of the bear is $8.99.